Archive for January, 2013

Monthly Donations: Samba and the “Cat’s Claw” Foundation

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Today I’m doing the monthly donations to open source projects and charities, for the first time this brand new year.

This month I chose to support Samba, the free software implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, which allows for interoperability between Unix/Linux and Windows systems. I used to use it a lot back in the day when there were Windows machines in my home network, nowadays not so much and mostly for print services, but still find it useful.

Samba has an impressive history of more than 20 years of existence, and just made a big leap forward with the newly released version 4.0, which is the first version that can serve as an Active Directory domain controller (not that I would want to use it, but I know many users have been waiting for that). Congratulations to the team, and thanks for a great piece of open source software!

The second donation that I’m making this month is to the “Cat’s Claw” Foundation, located in Poznan, dedicated to helping homeless animals (mostly cats, as the name implies). While browsing their website and forums, I found the touching story of Zane, a kitten that was found in a very bad condition, all sick and starving, and was saved by one of the Foundation’s volunteers. Here are two “before” and “after” photos:

The kitten got his name after one of the ninjas of the Lego Ninjago universe — pretty cool, huh? Best wishes to Zane and to all the volunteers of the “Cat’s Claw” Foundation!

ImgAreaSelect 0.9.10

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

By popular demand, I’m releasing a new version of imgAreaSelect, with added support for the latest and hottest release 1.9 of jQuery. There was a number of significant changes in jQuery (made in preparation for the upcoming 2.0 version), like the removal of jQuery.browser, which turned out to be incompatible with the plugin.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback, especially to Shane Shipston, who identified the problems with the new jQuery — this helped me roll out this update pretty quickly.

By the way, I noticed the jQuery Plugins website is back — I hope I’ll have enough free time in the next couple of days to get my plugins up on it.

Arriba – PSGI Web Server with SPDY Support

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Having some free time during the Christmas break, I decided to give a shot at a small project that I had in mind for a while, and that was to develop a PSGI-compliant(-ish) web server with support for the SPDY protocol.

In case you haven’t heard of it, SPDY is a networking protocol developed at Google with a goal of reducing web page load latency. It is currently used by some of Google services (including search and Gmail) and by Twitter, and is supported natively in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera — so if you visited any of those sites with any of those browsers, it’s highly likely that your web content was transmitted by means of SPDY. An official standard for the protocol is in the works.

There was a SPDY module on CPAN that looked promising — Net::SPDY by Lubomir Rintel. While not being a complete implementation of the protocol, it seemed to be working, as I found out by playing with the sample client and server scripts included in the distribution.

After a few days of reading the SPDY specs, minor reverse engineering of other implementations, and blatantly copying (a lot of) code from Starman, I was able to put together a preforking web server operational enough to run a few simple Dancer applications. It’s a mess and nowhere near being ready for production use, but I’m happy to share it to maybe get some feedback from you fine folks — I’ve put it up on GitHub. I intend to continue working on it and hopefully one day turn it into something half-decent.

If you want to run it, be aware that you currently need to use the Net::SPDY module from my forked repository instead of the original one, since in the original there’s some test code that breaks normal server communication.

About the project name — I followed the idea of using friendly names like Starman and Twiggy, and since SPDY reminds me of Speedy Gonzales, I used a part of Speedy’s catch phrase (“¡Ándele! ¡Ándele! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!”). However, I know I’m terrible at naming things, so I’m open to suggestions for a better name.

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